Friday, December 27, 2013

Warning: This post is mostly NOT about homeschooling. It's about personal beliefs and respect for all. And it's long.

Of the many reasons we decided to home school, one was that we wanted to teach our children our beliefs without them being ridiculed and judged. It is our opinion that today's society - from the media to regular every day people- actively campaign against our conservative beliefs.

And, really, can you argue with this? A Judge fined a bakery in Colorado for refusing to bake a cake for a homosexual couple's wedding. The baker didn't believe in/agree with gay marriage. So he was financially punished and made to bake the cake.

But I digress. Homosexuality and our beliefs about it were not even mentioned when we were thinking about home school. Topics such as wanting our children and our lives to be more Christ centered were. Worries such as a 4th grade girl creating an Instagram account for our daughter without our knowledge, and with a profile that read "I'm Violet and I like to party" were discussed. Seeing half naked girls everywhere and worrying about the message being sent to our daughters and son regarding women and sex, definitely discussed. Other issues, such as watching true bullying taking place and teachers not reacting appropriately, but then being so overwhelmed with ridiculous claims of it that they over react and punish the wrong child, again, discussed.  Sarah's class included one child who picked up his desk and tossed it, on three different occasions during the school year. (and, no, he was not impaired in anyway -  not even an IEP for emotional impairment. Which angered me - for that child as well as my child.) In no way do I blame the teacher for this repeated behavior - how is she supposed to prevent these things when she has 25 students to tend to by herself? Other issues such as the rate at which each of our children learn, John's activity level and Violet's tendency to follow the crowd, were discussed.

So, here I come to the reason I am angry and so saddened by recent events involving Phil of Duck Dynasty. (did you see that coming??) I love that show. For us, it shows our children husbands and wives treating each other with respect. The dads are not portrayed as dopey men who cannot do anything right, and the moms are not the only person in the family with brains. There isn't a smart kid, a dumb one and a trouble maker. There are just kids, fishing with their grandfather, baking with their grandmother. Are they always happy? No. But they are respectful. Does the family argue? Yes, but we see true apologies. At the end of every show the family all gets together and Phil prays. For us, it shows our beliefs in a normal way - no extremism, no hiding it.

Then Phil is asked his view on gay marriage. COME ON.  Were any of us shocked at the answer? Oh, but the media storm and the outrage that he spoke out against it. Do you remember when Ellen came out? Rosie? Niel Patrick Harris? I remember, but not because of the outrage. I remember because it was no big deal. And celebrities - gay and straight- spoke up for them, talked about how wonderful it was that they were living openly and should have all the rights as straight people. They talked about this on various red carpets and talk shows. Raven Symone` came out in the age of Twitter and people tweeted her about her courage and their support of it for days afterward. Were any of these celebrities reprimanded? Removed from the show they were currently on? Were they swarmed with hateful comments and blog posts about how wrong they were and why they should not support the gay population? Perhaps to some degree - but it certainly didn't go viral or make CNN, Headline News, Fox News and local papers.

And yet, here was a man, speaking his beliefs in a calm and respectful manner, not telling anybody, "You're wrong!" But simply stating what he believes to be a Biblical truth. The fact that I agree with him? Didn't even matter to me. If this media bashing had happened to a celebrity who came out in favor of homosexuality, I would be just as angry and upset. Either way, for or against, this treatment was in no way appropriate.

Tolerance. This was thrown around repeatedly last week. " Where is the tolerance? You must be tolerant of homosexuality." You know what? I AGREE. I agree with these statements.

But.

Where's the tolerance for Phil? For me? Where are the reporters, the bloggers, the FaceBookers who are saying, "We must be tolerant of those who disagree with homosexuality." Now, don't mistake me, if he had been hateful and mean, I would not defend him. Not one bit. But why are you, the more liberal population, allowed your beliefs, allowed your opinions, allowed your "lifestyle choice," and I am not? I am not throwing hatred and disrespect at the gay community. I never have. I never will. Do I believe that homosexuality is OK? No. And that is my belief. Mine. Not yours. And I'm OK with that. Why aren't you?

You should also know, that while our children are at home in an environment where I can control what they know about all things - homosexuality, violence in the world, violence just across town, I am not teaching intolerance. When the time comes to explain to my children what homosexuality is, I will explain it in a kind and loving way, while still stating that their father and I do not agree with it and it is our belief that the Bible supports this.  However, that does not give our children the right to judge anybody who has family members who are gay or are gay themselves. I have an aunt who is gay. A cousin who was. My husband's best friend was gay. Unfortunately, he died before my children were old enough to know him. We didn't agree with his lifestyle and yes, he knew. We discussed it  many times, with respect on all our parts.

And one final point: Why do you care what my beliefs -or Phil's- are on homosexuality or gay marriage? I certainly don't care what your belief is on it. I have many, many friends who believe it is perfectly normal and/or have family members who are gay. I.Don't.Care. It's not my business. It's not my place to judge, to decide if you are right or wrong. I know what I believe, and that is all I'm concerned about. I've had many discussions with friends about what I believe and what they do. And it's always been in a respectful way. I know where they stand. They know where I stand. And we don't agree. So? We don't have to. I believe in many things others don't. And others believe in many things I don't. We do Santa. Friends don't. We home school. Friends don't. We hunt. Friends don't.

And if you claim that you are offended simply because of my beliefs? Let me suggest to you that I, too, feel the same way. The difference here is that I'm respecting your beliefs as just that: Yours.